What agreements have you made with the world? Have you been burdened with any negative opinions since childhood? Don Miguel Ruiz suggests just four agreements that we ought to live by in order to find personal freedom. That is to say, being happy, positive and free from negative emotions that cripple us.
This is a book that is very popular and quite practical in its advice. It’s easy to relate to each of the Four Agreements and it can have a surprising effect on how you come across as a person. I enjoyed reading this book and am currently making a big effort to sign up to the four agreements discussed in the book. I’ve decided to break down each of the four agreements and give my interpretation. In this post I’ll give you a quick introduction and then I’ll tackle the first agreement – be impeccable with your word.
Life is a dream that has been created for us by society. The rules of our dreams have been decided for us by our cultures, religion and political landscape. As children we abide by these rules because, well, we don’t know any better. However these so called dreams can just as easily be nightmares. This is when we suffer emotions such as fear and sadness, to name a few.
Within our dreams we make thousands of agreements with everyone we encounter. Our friends, families, work colleagues etc. most importantly, we make agreements with ourselves. For example, we may tell ourselves that we can’t be successful or that we have no luck with relationships. We must then break these agreements and replace them with positive ones. When we achieve this, we are left with four special agreements that can transform our lives.
1) Be impeccable with your word
In a nutshell this means that we manifest what we put out there. If we say (out loud and in our heads) that we will fail something…we will. Now most of us are seasoned, spiritual veterans who already know this. But it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of this from time to time.
Think of it like this:
You’re a magician and what you say casts a spell on yourself and others. If you say something negative to yourself, you are performing a sort of black magic. This will cripple you with fear and negativity. Once you start to realise that your words are magic, you begin to take more care with what you say. When you have an opinion it becomes an agreement and it will lodge in your mind. Therefore it’s crucial we make opinions that form positive agreements.
Be impeccable with yourself – your mind
Your mind is fertile space, littered with seeds. Your words are the seeds. If you plant negative words in your fertile mind, the seeds will grow into full blown, detrimental opinions and feelings. Your mind is then left in a state of saturated negativity. To stop this we must plant positive seeds. We must use truth and love to clear away the poison and free our minds. Sounds all well and good but it’s difficult. Especially when you consider the next point.
To be impeccable with others – gossip
We’ve all done it! And let’s face it, it felt good. We feel closer to the cool crew at the expense of some poor soul whose only crime was that they were different. We even sit around the living room with our families gossiping about others, thinking it’s ok because our family will not judge us. The thing is that the initial satisfaction you get from gossip has come at the expense of your integrity. So why do we gossip?
According to Don Miguel Ruiz, our negative seeds turn into beliefs and need to spread. They need to be verified by other negative minds in order to bring us confidence in our beliefs. It is horrible but it’s the truth. Think of a group of people, essentially good, but suckers for gossip. They make fun of their co-worker, who happens to be stunning and great at their job. The gossipers feel low in confidence around this worker and so, gather to gossip. But who are they kidding? Why can’t they admit they are envious or positively acknowledge someone? It’s because their fertile minds have been corrupted by poisoned seeds. In other words, the words they have used have negatively manifested. This results into bitter, negative humans.
Interestingly, we will never know when we have been the victims of cruel gossip. Just the thought of it makes us feel terrible. And what if it was by our close friends? How would we feel then? That’s why it’s better not to go down that route. If you’re going to start a sentence with: I’m not being rude but… Or, I’m not trying to be funny but… Then don’t. All you’re doing is setting the scene for gossip and as we’ve now understood, it’s not nice. And just because you say I’m not trying to be rude first, doesn’t take away from the fact that you actually are.
Gossip also plants seeds into other people’s minds. If you’re ragging on a person in front of your friends, chances are (if they’re not impeccable with their word) you’ll influence them into a negative mind-set. Also don’t be surprised if people have trust issues with you. Your so called gossip pals will never really trust you as a friend because they’ve heard you speak negatively about others.
The computer virus analogy
The book provides a great analogy to express this point. Think of a computer. It will have software that contains code to help us perform actions. However, what if that same software had additional malicious code with the aim of spreading a virus? Our job then is to remove the threat with an antivirus software. In this analogy, the virus is a negative opinion that has turned into an agreement. This agreement now wants to spread into other mind-sets, creating a network of harmful people. For me the anti-virus is to speak with integrity, truth and love. The ability not to get involved in mindless gossip.
To be impeccable with your word for me is a liberation. It allows you to enjoy the success of others and can motivate yourself for epic change. You will actually feel like a good person because the words you utter are kind. Your mind is just as fertile for positivity, so let’s start feeding it. Stay away from the gossip because now you know, it’s just a bunch of negative seeds manifested into cruel talk. You don’t need that; it’s not in your best interests. It can force you to feel emotions like fear, sadness and anger. Be strong, risk exclusion from the ‘cool’ group and walk away with your integrity and impeccable word.
The second agreement explains why we should not take things personally, something I’ve struggled with in the past. Be sure to check out the next installment where I discuss this agreement in more detail.
If you like what you’ve read and are interested in the book, here is the link to the Amazon US store The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom.
For readers in the UK or Europe, you can find the book here The Four Agreements: Practical Guide to Personal Freedom.
As always thanks for reading,
Young Philosopher BCN